The Ranch encompasses several major watersheds in the region, which receives more than 50 inches of rainfall annually. This equates to approximately 500 billion gallons of rainwater that fall on our property each year. Deseret also borders the St. Johns River for 40 miles and contains a portion of the headwaters to the Kissimmee River. As a steward of these vital resources, we are committed to protecting long term the water supplies that sustain our ecosystems, grow our agriculture, and provide safe drinking water to our communities.
Deseret’s operations have been a model for responsible and sustainable management of valuable water resources for over half a century. To protect St. Johns River water quality, Deseret has voluntarily created retention ponds to improve nutrient quality of storm water before it leaves the property. The 500-acre Jug Island Reservoir Water Treatment System was awarded the Commissioner of Agriculture’s Environmental Leadership Award for Water Quality. Water discharged from these reservoirs is of high quality, exceeding the quality of the receiving waters of the St. Johns River floodplain. Another major storm water retention reservoir has been planned and is awaiting permit approval.
Deseret is committed to protecting the water supplies that sustain our ecosystems, grow our agriculture, and provide safe drinking water to our communities. Deseret has encouraged the protection of groundwater supplies and has spent millions of dollars protecting the quality of surface water.
For decades, Deseret’s leadership has encouraged increased reliance on surface water and has repeatedly expressed concerns about overuse of ground water by surrounding communities. Millions of gallons of water are already removed each day from the Ranch to supply those communities, with no compensation to us as a landowner. When possible, Deseret uses surface water for our own agricultural needs, rather than drawing heavily on fragile aquifers. More than twenty years ago Deseret began converting our irrigation systems from reliance on well water to surface water, thus protecting valuable groundwater resources. We continually monitor the groundwater aquifer underlying the Ranch in an effort to prevent over-pumping by local municipalities and the resultant salt water intrusion. We also employ irrigation best practices to reduce the amount of water we use.